Phobia is an arbitrary fear of an object, space, feeling, or situation. Social phobia (Fear of Social Interactions), Arachnophobia (Fear of Spiders), Mysophobia (fear of germs or dirt), Acrophobia (Fear of heights), etc. are some common types of phobias.
One more type of phobia, though not officially listed as one, is Elevatophobia or Elevaphobia, which causes discomfort, panic, despair, and anxiety in people daily.
People with Elevatophobia don’t deliberate on the need for a cure because avoiding situations involving exposure to their fear is their best relief. Their avoidance gives them temporary respite from their problem. For people with lift phobia, climbing hundreds of stairs is more convenient than using an elevator for a few minutes.
There are countless causes of Elevatophobia, but some actions taken by elevator manufacturers and installers to increase elevator safety can significantly reduce the sufferer’s fear. One way to increase lift safety is by installing ERD— a storage-based technology. You will know more about this technology in the article below. Let’s explore!
What constitutes Elevatophobia?
Elevatophobia, commonly described as the fear of elevators, does not often exist as a standalone phobia. It is triggered by two underlined phobias: Agoraphobia and Claustrophobia.
Agoraphobia: It is the fear of being trapped in a situation or place with no way to escape, such as standing in a line or being trapped among a crowd. The fully enclosed design of elevators is the perfect trigger for this phobia.
Indeed, most people with agoraphobia don’t particularly worry about riding elevators. Some still find it difficult to picture themselves in a box with no escape route.
Claustrophobia: It is not unusual for people to be apprehensive about enclosed places, though the intensity of fear varies. Some people only become a little uncomfortable in an enclosed place, while others get into full-blown panic mode. With an elevator being a limited and enclosed space, it is not difficult to imagine why people get panic attacks.
Symptoms of Elevatophobia
Phobias, including Elevatophobia, must not be brushed aside and given proper attention. The constant fear of a situation, place, things, etc., is so detrimental that it can limit the sufferer’s life. Proper management of thoughts helps you not only live with your fear but sometimes overcome your fear by either eliminating or managing the symptoms.
A person experiencing Elevatophobia doesn’t always need to be in an elevator to feel the fear. Sometimes the mere thought of being in that situation can elicit a response. It is because the human brain can create a reaction even when the person is not exposed to a particular fearful situation.
A person with Elevatophobia can experience the following physical and psychological symptoms.
- Difficulty breathing
- Dry mouth
- Feeling faint
- Blood pressure spike
- Feeling butterflies in the stomach
- Upset stomach
- Pain in the chest
- Hot flushes
Elevatophobia in some situations also triggers psychological symptoms such as:
- Nearness to death
- Mood swings, irritability
- Panic attacks and anxiety
- Fear of illness
- Hopelessness and dejection
Safety standards of Are modern-day elevators
Riding elevators is associated with some degree of risk. But an endless supply of misinformation about risks associated with using elevators is causing unnecessary panic. People still think during a malfunction, the elevator car will fall in a free-fall like in the past. But there is little truth about it, considering modern elevator systems’ technological and design changes. Modern lift systems are braced against accidents in the following way.
Robust cables for support
Present-day lifts are supported and kept in place by multiple robust cables to fully support the lift car’s motions. These cables are made to carry more than the weight of a fully occupied car. The benefit of multiple cables is that if one cable fails or breaks, others can still keep the lift car in place.
Integrated with ERD devices
Power failure is another safety concern surrounding elevators. Unlike in the past, today, high-quality elevator systems are integrated with Emergency Rescue Device, which provides power backup to lifts in the absence of power from the mains supply. The transition from the grid to ERD power is so smooth that passengers don’t feel the slightest jerk or stoppage in the lift’s regular operations.
ERD integrated lifts come with ECU (Electronic Control Unit) system that lets the lift cab occupants know whether the lift is on the grid or ERD power. A screen fitted inside the lifts shows the status of the remaining backup and how long the lift can operate on the ERD power.
ERD technology is revolutionizing the power backup landscape by providing prolonged power for operating bigger loads such as lifts in case of sudden power cuts. Su-Vastika is among the few renowned companies working on this technology to make it a reality.
Tips for overcoming Elevatophobia
Being unable to ride elevators can make your routine life harder, considering that the use of lifts is becoming widespread. Whether you experience a slight uneasiness or a severe panic attack, it is essential to look for a solution sooner than later.
Be logical about your fear
Consider your fear logically; if you are worried about getting trapped, consider everything you can do in that situation. For instance, you must know how to prompt the emergency staff by calling emergency numbers.
Face your fear
Some people think about avoiding lifts due to their fear of getting stuck. But exposure is a much better technique for overcoming fear than escaping. The more you avoid, the bigger your fear will grow. Facing your fear will be scary initially, but you will learn to combat it with time.
Though easier said than done, staying calm will help you think logically and stop you from getting overwhelmed. Try the following to stay calm:
- Try using the lift with someone with no such phobia; they can help you stay calm
- Stand straight and focus on your breathing moments
- Try using the lift when it is not crowded
Lift phobia is officially not recognized as a fear, but it still makes countless people uncomfortable daily. Many people try to avoid lifts because they feel unsure about their safety. Ensuring higher safety standards for lifts by installing ERD is one way to make lifts less appalling. However, the above-mentioned tips for overcoming Elevatophobia can also effectively combat the fear.
Nancy Vasser has over 15 years experience as a educator and health practitioner. She has a B.S. from Brock, and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Guelph . Nancy has worked as a special medical consultant for a major insurance provider before becoming a freelance health author and public speaker.